In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning tries to save her younger sister Serah who was made a l'Cie, only to be turned one herself. In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning serves as a knight protecting the goddess Etro in Valhalla from her fated rival, Caius Ballad. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the world is said to end in thirteen days, and it is up to Lightning to save it.
Lightning is the first female main protagonist in the mainstream Final Fantasy series. Before her the closest equivalent to this was Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI.
In Final FantasyEdit
Appearance and PersonaliityEdit
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
"Lightning. It flashes bright, then fades away. It can't protect. It only destroys."
—Lightning to Hope
Lightning is a young woman with long, light pink hair, and pale aqua-colored eyes. Lightning's eye color has been officially addressed as blue, though in the FMVs and promotional art they often appear green due to green aspects around the pupil. She has a navel piercing, although this is difficult to see from her in-game model.
In Final Fantasy XIII, she wears a variation of the standard Guardian Corps uniform. A green metallic pauldron over her left shoulder bearing yellow stripes symbolizes her previous rank as a sergeant. She carries her gunblade in a black case which hangs off her belt, and wears a necklace with a lightning bolt pendant. Her l'Cie brand is located slightly above her left breast.
Lightning is determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is cold and standoffish, distancing herself from her companions. Much of her motivation is fueled from what she perceives as failing to protect Serah and wanting to make things right, which leads her to lash out at those she believes are responsible for that and the subsequent Purge: namely, the Sanctum, its fal'Cie and, to a point, Snow Villiers, due to his relationship with Serah and his failure to protect her as he promised. Over time, Lightning begins to show compassion and trust others, and sees the errors in her approach. Ultimately, she becomes the leader and, to a degree, protector of the other Pulse l'Cie as they journey to challenge their fate.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
Lightning wears a silver and gold Valkyrie-like suit of armor with a shield on her right arm. She has a new gunblade modified to look more like a traditional sword, which has Etro script on it.
Personality-wise, Lightning has learned to trust others and ask them for help. She expresses her emotions more rather than keeping them bottled up inside her.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
In Lightning Returns, Lightning will have a number of different of costumes. Her default outfit, Equilibrium, is similar to what she wore in Final Fantasy XIII-2. She has a red shield on her left arm and her sword is red and yellow, similar to Noel's Flame Fossil dual swords. The logo appears on her outfit a number of times; on her chest, her sword and her shield.
Other outfits include the Dark Muse outfit that gives Lighting a camouflage jacket, knife, and a lattice style shield, and the Shadow's Dust costume that resembles samurai armor.
Lightning's father died when she was young, and her mother died from an unknown illness when she was fifteen. With no other family to turn to, Lightning had to raise her younger sister, Serah. To get over the pain of her parents' deaths and to become an adult as quickly as possible, she changed her name from Claire Farron to "Lightning".
After graduating from high school, Lightning joined the Guardian Corps Bodhum Security Regiment under Lieutenant Amodar, where she attained the rank of sergeant, and was scheduled for officer training. However, she began to lose sight of her goals, and worked many hours while spending little time with Serah.
Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -PromiseEdit
"You became a l'Cie, so now you're gonna marry this idiot? And you think I'm gonna buy that? Full points for originality. But, don't forget. If you really are a l'Cie, it's my job to deal with you."
—Lightning to Serah
After the Bodhum monster-fighting group NORA rescues her from an aquatic ambush, Lightning meets Snow Villiers, their leader and Serah's boyfriend. Lightning remains unimpressed as she has never approved of NORA acting like vigilantes, and after Snow dismisses her demand for him to stop dating Serah, Lightning vows to have nothing to do with him and to dissuade her sister's affections for him.
As Lightning's twenty-first birthday approaches, she begins to feel guilty for her lack of attention to Serah, feeling she got involved with Snow to quell her loneliness. Inspired by a mother and her son she sees in the mall, Lightning thinks of planning a vacation with Serah for her birthday. She also notices two fugitive Pulse l'Cie, Vanille and Fang, but judging by their clothes, believes they must be from Eden. A few days later, the Cavalry is hunting down Vanille. Though Captain Rygdea does not explain the intention behind their investigation, Lightning suspects it may have something to do with the "incident" at Euride Gorge.
While attending the Bodhum fireworks festival, Lightning learns of a Pulse-related incident at the nearby Vestige being kept under wraps by the Sanctum. Amodar warns her not to investigate, as it would only lead to trouble. The next day on Lightning's birthday, Serah reveals she has been branded as a l'Cie, and that she and Snow are engaged. Angry and thinking Serah is lying about her brand to give her an excuse to wed Snow, Lightning drives her away, leaving her alone to open her birthday present from Serah: a survival knife.
When the Sanctum announces a Pulse fal'Cie is residing within the Pulse Vestige, Lightning realizes Serah had been telling the truth, but by then it is too late. After learning the Sanctum plans to purge the entire town, Lightning tries to find Serah but Snow reveals she is being held captive inside of the Vestige. Although military personnel are exempt from the Purge, Lightning resigns from the Guardian Corps and volunteers to be purged with the civilians as a cover to get into the Hanging Edge, where the Vestige is being moved so she can rescue Serah before she is taken out of reach.
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
"This l'Cie curse, it took everything from me. My future. My dreams. I didn't want to think. So I fought instead. As long as I was fighting, nothing else was real. I was running away."
—Lightning to Hope
With her ally Sazh Katzroy, the two commandeer the Purge train and fight their way through the PSICOM forces to reach the Vestige. Snow is also there seeking to save Serah, and has been followed by Hope Estheim and Vanille. The five find Serah, but she enters crystal stasis. The group confronts and destroys the Pulse fal'Cie Anima, but are branded by it as l'Cie before it perishes. The Hanging Edge collapses into Lake Bresha, which crystallizes upon impact with the fallen Vestige.
The five believe that since Anima was a Pulse fal'Cie, the Focus it gave them as l'Cie is to destroy Cocoon. Snow stays behind to try and dig the crystallized Serah out of the lake while the other four find an airship. The pursuing PSICOM ships attack and the party crash in the Vile Peaks. The group splits up, Lightning going off alone to head to the Cocoon capital Eden and destroy its namesake fal'Cie that controls the Sanctum, blaming it for the Purge and her current fate. Accompanied by Hope and unable to send him back due to pursuing PSICOM forces, Lightning's anger at her situation causes her Eidolon, Odin, to manifest. Lightning defends Hope when Odin tries to strike him and the two defeat the Eidolon together. Lightning agrees to help Hope "toughen up" as he asks.
In the Gapra Whitewood, Lightning allows Hope to take point and instructs him on how to fight properly. As they travel, Hope reveals he followed Snow into the Vestige because his mother Nora was killed following Snow into battle against PSICOM, and he wishes to take revenge. In Palumpolum, the two agree to visit Hope's house and see his father Bartholomew to tell him about Nora. To evade PSICOM forces, the two sneak into the underground Nutriculture Complex, and Lightning sees the fal'Cie Carbuncle. A remark from Hope comparing fal'Cie to taking care of humans as pets sparks a revelation with Lightning, who realizes she had been a fal'Cie pawn since birth and that her anger is merely over having her masters turn against her. She tells Hope their goals of vengeance are over, and that they now have to find hope to fight for something else.
As the two surface, soldiers led by Yaag Rosch ambush them, with Rosch intending to execute the Pulse l'Cie to pacify worried Cocoon civilians. Snow and Fang arrive and intervene. Lightning goes with Fang while Hope goes with Snow, and the two pairs decide to meet up at Hope's house. Lightning learns Fang is not only a Pulse l'Cie but an actual Gran Pulse citizen. Fang says she and Vanille were crystallized there centuries before after completing their Focus, but woke up in Cocoon without knowing why. Fang assures Lightning that Serah will wake from crystal stasis, and the two rendezvous with Snow and Hope at Hope's home. Lightning tends to the injuries Snow received protecting Hope and apologizes for her behavior towards him, but the peace is shattered when PSICOM forces attack. The group is saved by the Cavalry ship, the Lindblum, piloted by Cid Raines, who aided Fang and Snow earlier.
They learn Sazh and Vanille are being held captive on the Palamecia, currently transporting Galenth Dysley, Primarch of the Sanctum. The four infiltrate the Palamecia, rescue Sazh and Vanille, and confront Dysley. Dysley reveals himself as the fal'Cie Barthandelus, leader of the Cocoon fal'Cie. Barthandelus explains their Focus is to destroy Cocoon by turning into Ragnarok and killing Orphan, the fal'Cie that powers the other Cocoon fal'Cie.
The party flees on a small airship, which autopilots them through Eden into the Fifth Ark on orders from Dysley. The group meets with Raines in the Ark, who reveals he, too, is a l'Cie, branded by Barthandelus with the Focus of aiding them, but he plans to rebel against his Focus by killing them. He reveals Barthandelus desires Cocoon's destruction because the death of so many humans would summon the Maker, the creator of fal'Cie and humans who has abandoned them. Raines battles the group and is defeated, transforming into crystal despite having defied his Focus. The group finds a ship with a gate leading to Gran Pulse, and descend to the world below hoping to find aid in their quest.
After a week of searching, they find Pulse devoid of human life. With their search fruitless, they head to Oerba, Vanille and Fang's home village, but find it abandoned. In Oerba, the group is confronted by Serah, who refers to Lightning by her birthname and begs the group to destroy Orphan to call the Maker and save the world from despair. Serah is revealed to be Dysley in disguise, and Dysley announces he has resigned as Primarch and appointed a revived Raines in his place. The suspicion about the changeover and the rest of the events that have transpired have set Cocoon on edge, setting the stage for Dysley to incite a civil war. He has his familiar Menrva transform into an airship for the group to return to Cocoon, and they do so to try and stop Dysley's plans.
Sazh crashes the airship at the Eden Grand Prix, and the party make their way to Orphan’s Cradle amongst the ensuing chaos. In the depths of the Cradle they find Dysley, who summons the crystallized Dajh and Serah before the party and destroys them. Denouncing it as an illusion, the party fights Barthandelus and destroys him. His defeat awakens the sleeping Orphan, who reveals it wishes to be destroyed after centuries of un-life, and attacks them.
Demanding one of the party members become Ragnarok, Fang submits and agrees. Lightning and the others aside from Vanille are turned into Cie'th, and attack Fang as Orphan tortures her to try and force her to transform. Fang's incomplete transformation is not strong enough to kill Orphan, and the Cie'th party members are restored to save her and fight Orphan again as its shell falls apart. Orphan is vanquished, and the de-powered Cocoon begins to fall. Lightning and the other party members float away as Vanille and Fang merge and transform into a complete Ragnarok, using their power to stop Cocoon's descent.
On Pulse, Lightning and the others are crystallized but return to human form to witness Cocoon still in the air, suspending by a giant crystal pillar formed by Ragnarok to keep it from being destroyed. As Cocoon civilians descend to Pulse on airships, Lightning reunites with Serah and begins to apologize to her, but is cut short when Snow reminds they "have a wedding to plan". Snow reassures Lightning he will make Serah happy, and Lightning congratulates them.
Final Fantasy XIII -Episode iEdit
"But you know we can't just leave you, right?"
—Lightning to Fang and Vanille
Lightning vows to find a way to save Vanille and Fang from the crystal pillar. She believes the answer lies hidden away somewhere on Gran Pulse, and perhaps she could discover other Pulsian survivors as well.
Lightning worries how they are no longer l'Cie, and believes it will be a long and difficult journey. After seeing Serah is in good hands with Snow, she decides to take up the task on her own. Lightning comes to the conclusion Serah and the others will be tied down with new responsibilities and would not be able to accompany her.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments AfterEdit
"I took their lives just because I didn't want to die. I felt that it was a sin, but I deluded myself, saying I had no choice. I had selfishly decided the weight of life and selfishly convinced myself of it. I didn't even stop to think that their lives were sacrificed for mine. It was all me... so sinful and arrogant."
After being released from her l'Cie bonds, Lightning remained uneasy. She was soon caught in a paradox and was dragged into the abyss by chaos. In turn, she is removed from history, and everyone except Serah now believe her to be either dead or crystallized along with Vanille and Fang, and all that is left of her is her survival knife.
In actuality, Lightning fell through the Historia Crux and ended up in Valhalla, the realm of death and chaos dislodged from time. Wandering along the shore, Lightning comes across a moogle named Mog. As Lightning tries to tend to him, Mog challenges her to a duel and promptly loses. Touched by Mog's innocence, Lightning has him follow her.
Mog tells Lightning about Valhalla, the Void Beyond, and the goddess Etro. On the way to Etro's temple for answers, Lightning and Mog encounter Odin, who challenges Lightning to a battle, during which she learns to cast magic naturally. She defeats Odin and uses him as a means of transport to the temple. Within Etro's temple, Lightning is challenged by Bahamut, who guards the goddess's throne. During the fight, Lightning loses her weapon, prompting Mog to come to her aid. He transforms into a bow for her to use and she is able to overcome Bahamut.
Sensing Etro's presence, Lightning stands before the goddess's throne and is briefly made one with Etro. Lightning comes to know of the goddess's isolation (having been abandoned by her father, Bhunivelze), her love towards mankind, the unintended suffering she caused Yeul and Caius, and the memory of the countless people who have died.
Lightning also comes to realize that Etro sees her and her friends as sinners for killing people during their time as l'Cie, but released them from their crystal stasis after giving Vanille and Fang the strength to become Ragnarok. Through the Eyes of Etro, Lightning sees the future, an era facing destruction, Yeul's death, herself being defeated by Caius in battle, and Serah trapped in a dream unable to wake up. Lightning's Guardian Corps uniform disappears and a suit of armor materializes on her body. Lightning chooses to stay to contain the memories of the deceased and fight to save the future as a way to atone for her past sins, and becomes the goddess's knight.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
"This man, Caius Ballad. He seeks to destroy all hope, and bring an end to the future. Though the battle might be endless, I will never give up. Etro has chosen us—her champions. And we cannot fail."
—Lightning to Noel and Serah
Armed with a new gunblade, Lightning is now Etro's protector and guards the goddess from Caius, an immortal Guardian who wants to kill Etro to destroy the timeline. Lightning has a vision of a young man falling through the Historia Crux and Caius summons an army of monsters and challenges her to battle. Caius transforms into Chaos Bahamut, and sends Lightning flying over Valhalla.
During her battle against Caius, Lightning sees Etro's Gate appear over Etro's Shrine and a person falling out. She recognizes it as the young man she had seen in her vision, Noel Kreiss. Lightning saves him from falling and tells Noel about Serah and asks him for his help. Showing him a Time Gate below the shrine, she gives him Mog along with instructions to find Serah and bring her to Valhalla. When Caius returns and summons a meteor over the shrine, Lightning urges Noel to jump into the Time Gate. She summons Odin to throw her into the meteor's path but it crushes the shrine, leaving Lightning's fate unknown.
Noel finds Serah and together they embark on a quest to find their way to Valhalla. Lightning eventually appears from a portal before Serah, Noel and Mog in New Bodhum at 700 AF, and tells them they are in a future she had failed to save. She explains Orphan's demise and that Fang and Vanille's sacrifice to save Cocoon opened the portal to Valhalla. She says Etro closed the door to prevent chaos from pouring out into the world but time had been distorted, and as a result of being caught in the darkness Lightning disappeared. She tells them the goddess is being destroyed and if Etro vanishes completely all hope for the world would be lost.
Lightning says Caius plans to destroy Etro and open the door again, unleashing chaos out into the mortal world. She says the door would open wide enough if a large amount of people died at once, which would be possible if Cocoon fell. If Caius were to succeed, a world of chaos would appear and time, life, and death would all become meaningless. Lightning entrusts Noel and Serah to stop Caius in the mortal realm while she deals with him in Valhalla, and has Mog reveal a Time Gate for them to proceed, before she returns to Valhalla.
In the Vile Peaks, Lightning blames herself for the paradox that caused the disappearance of an Academy anti-paradox team, Blitz Squadron, while they were scouting the area in 10 AF to deal with a distortion. She appears in the area at 10 AF, just before Noel and Serah engage the paradox, a dark imitation of Odin called Twilight Odin. In 200 AF, after they defeat Twilight Odin's true form, Lightning is released from the burden of Odin's shadow twin. She recalls how she once fought alongside the men in Blitz Squadron and finds comfort in how they still remember her.
When Mog reveals a phased-out image of Lightning in the Vile Peaks she tells Serah and Noel about how as a l'Cie, she first thought fighting for what she believed in alone was the only way, but later saw the error in her ways. Being all by herself in Valhalla, she holds on to the memories of Serah and her friends to stay strong in her battle against Caius. Lightning tells Serah she misses her and prays for the day when they can be together again, and disappears.
Back in Valhalla, Lightning continues her fight with Caius. Seeing a vision of Serah's death by her Eyes of Etro, a shocked Lightning is subdued by Caius before chaos consumes her. She comes to in the remains of Etro’s temple, where she finds Serah's soul restrained and surrounded by chaos, manipulated by the spirits of Yeul. The chaos forms into a manifestation of Caius that Lightning proceeds to battle.
Caius transforms into Chaos Bahamut and flies towards the beach where Lightning continues to fight him. After dispatching of her opponent, Lightning mounts Odin and demands Yeul to let Serah go, but she and Odin are swallowed by chaos. Lightning is made to realize her actions caused her sister's death. As she floats through the Historia Crux, Lightning contemplates her belief that carrying out Etro's will would atone for her past sins and concludes there is nothing left for her, not even hope. After Serah and Noel's first battle against Caius in Valhalla, they are consumed by a wave of darkness and sent falling into an abyss of light beneath the waves of chaos. Lightning appears and saves them, urging them to keep hope alive before vanishing.
Mourning over Serah's body, Lightning sees Serah's spirit on Etro's throne. Serah tells her not to cry and reveals she knew she would die, but chose to keep fighting for the chance for them to reunite. As Serah's spirit fades away, Lightning finds herself in a void in Serah's embrace. She tells Lightning she must not give up hope and always remember her, promising they will meet again.
To ensure Serah's memory lives on and to hold on to their wish to be together again someday, and to preserve the world's existence in Etro's place as her true atonement, Lightning sits on the goddess's throne and enters crystal stasis, saying she waits for the day she will awaken at the end of eternity. Gran Pulse is engulfed in chaos and in time is transformed into Nova Chrysalia, the merged form of Gran Pulse and Valhalla.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
"You should know who I am. Or, should I say, what I am. These are the final thirteen days."
—Lightning at the end of the announcement trailer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
After spending five centuries in crystal stasis, Lightning awakens to find herself in Nova Chrysalia. She learns the world is going to end in thirteen days, and it is up to her to save it. She is given a new suit of armor and task by Bhunivelze to be a savior and guide the souls of humanity to the new world that will replace Nova Chrysalia at the end of the final thirteen days.
On Sora's TeamEdit
As everyone calls her by her nickname, she's more active on training with others, and practicing her new powers. Her relationships with the team are highly 100% purely great.