Hero poses need to mean something. The hero poses in the Disney Women series meant something – it was a response to the girl-ification of Disney merchandising that stripped these women of character and agency.
Final Fantasy art seems to have the opposite effect – we have hero poses everywhere, but it doesn’t capture the journey they went through to get here.
I didn’t want hero poses in this series. We know these villains are extraordinarily powerful, and I didn’t want to toss yet another hero pose into the saturated pool. I wanted to give some visual insight into the psychology of these villains, and why they did the things they did.
Betrayal’s End (FFXV)
Bahamut’s swords litter the Rock. They gleam in the darkness, shedding none of the blood that drenches the Infernian’s heart.
“I will do it.” Shiva’s voice floats around them.
To Ifrit’s surprise, Bahamut does not protest. The damn Draconian always had something to say even if no one wanted to hear it. Winged swords sharpen as they spread to fly, and in a moment, Bahamut disappears from his sight.
Ifrit searches for her, despite knowing that she appears only when she wants to.
“End it, my love,” he says to nothing but air. Well, he tries to. Blood has filled his throat and his words come out as a gurgle.
The white glow of the swords shimmer briefly, a prismatic rainbow taking the form of her lithe body. Her voice, once smooth, cracks as she speaks. “Pyreburner-“
Even after all this time, his heart still quickens whenever he sees her. “No, call me by my name.”
Her brow crumples. The tears that would have dripped onto his face have crystallized on her lashes. “I cannot.”
“I deserve that much, at least.”
Water hardens into snow as she pulls it from the air, icicle shards and dust swirling around her as she descends. Ifrit shivers as she draws closer, his every breath now dissolving into mist. He releases his sword as her fingers brush past his cheek. Her touch always calmed him.
His body stiffens as the ice spreads through his veins. He struggles to keep himself upright, but he fixates his gaze on her. He would not look away.
She whispers a single word and kisses him. Her lips are a cold and brittle shell, but he knows if he presses on them hard enough, it would eventually melt away into a warmth that would almost match his. He tries to remember this. He will remember this.
Contended, Ifrit allows himself to smile. Even if Bahamut’s precious world slumbered in darkness, even if his mind was lost, he would remember.