Her Story

Growing Up In Nibelheim
Twenty years ago, Tifa was born in Nibelheim, a remote mountain village on the Western Continent. There, she lived the first fifteen years of her life quite uneventfully. As an only child, she received boundless attention from both of her parents and shared a close relationship with them. Lively and outgoing, she had several friends and the admiration of many. Cloud Strife, a shy and introverted boy, one year Tifa's senior, was one of her admirers. Although they grew up living next door to each other, Tifa and Cloud were never friends and rarely interacted.

When Tifa was eight years old, her mother passed away. As can be expected, Tifa was extremely upset and distraught. One day soon after the event, she wandered up the path to Mt. Nibel under the belief that 'Mama' had passed through the mountains. Her three closest friends, scared of what might happen to them, deserted her and ran back to the village. Determined to ensure Tifa's safety Cloud, who had been following the four unnoticed, pursued her. He ran to save her when she missed her footing but was too late. The pair tumbled down the mountainside to lie crumpled at the bottom.

Cloud got through the incident hardly scratching his knees, but Tifa wasn't so lucky. As a result of the fall she fell into a coma. Tifa's father, shaken by the prospect of losing both his wife and daughter, blamed Cloud for her accident. Fortunately, the coma only lasted for a week, but Cloud was still held responsible and his relationship with Tifa remained practically nonexistant.

At the age of fourteen, Cloud asked Tifa to meet him at the well in the center of town one night. She arrived late but joined him eventually and he told her of his plans for the future. In the spring, he was going to leave Nibelheim for Midgar and join SOLDIER, Shinra's elite army, so he could become as powerful as the legendary Sephiroth. Tifa seemed to be both surprised and disappointed by this news and made him promise her one thing:

"If you get really famous and I'm ever in a bind..."
"You come save me, all right?"
"Whenever I'm in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me."
"I want to experience that at least once."
"Come on! Promise me!"
"All right... I promise."

When springtime rolled around, Cloud left as he said he would. Although they weren't really close, Tifa was hit harder by his departure than she'd predicted. She began to think about him a lot. She would wonder how he was doing, and if he'd got into SOLDIER. She began to read the newspapers, thinking there might be an article about him, and hoped to receive letters. But she didn't hear any news of him for years.

Under a travelling instructor called Zangan, she took up martial arts, and swiftly became one of his most talented students. She also trained to become a tour guide for the Nibel Mountain trails and continued with her piano lessons.