Elmyra Gainsborough is a minor supporting character in Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and is also mentioned in On the Way to a Smile "Episode: Tifa". She is the adoptive mother of Aerith Gainsborough living in the Sector 5 slums of Midgar.
Before Final Fantasy VII
Elmyra was a housewife whose husband was sent to the front lines in the war against Wutai. One day she received a letter stating he'd be returning home for a short time. However, he didn't appear when she waited for him at the train station. Elmyra visited the station every day to wait for him, and on one such day met a dying Ifalna and Aerith. Ifalna's final request was for Elmyra to take Aerith somewhere safe and she obliged. Elmyra adopted Aerith to raise the girl as her own.
Aerith turned out to have mysterious powers, though she tried to conceal them. She told Elmyra of her husband's passing before the letter informing her of it arrived, and their house was visited by Tseng of the Turks from whom Elmyra learned that Aerith and Ifalna had escaped from a Shinra Electric Power Company laboratory, and that Shinra believed Aerith to be an Ancient. However, the Turks never took Aerith away by force.
In "Aeris's Secret", Aerith introduced Cloud to Elmyra as her bodyguard. She showed concern for Aerith, questioning if she was being followed, and thanked Cloud for his protection. Aerith was going to guide Cloud back to Sector 7, but Elmyra suggested they spend the night instead, sending Aeriith to prepare a bed for Cloud. Elmyra then asked him to covertly leave during the night due to being a SOLDIER, not wanting her daughter's feelings hurt again. Cloud did so, but Aerith followed him.
Later that night, Aerith brought Marlene to her house, leaving her in Elmyra's care in the aftermath of the Sector 7 plate collapse. Cloud, Barret, and Tifa traveled to Aerith's house sometime after and informed Elmyra that Shinra had kidnapped Aerith. She proceeded to tell the party of Aerith's heritage, her husband's death, as well as her adoption and raising of Aerith. She told Cloud to rescue, come back to Aerith, and not get killed. She continued to look after Marlene as Cloud's party pursued Sephiroth.
Reeve Tuesti and Cait Sith captured Elmyra and Marlene and relocated them to Kalm. After Meteorfall, Reeve informed a saddened Elmyra of Aerith's death. She didn't blame Cloud, knowing Sephiroth was to culpable. She later became a client of Strife Delivery Service and requested Cloud to bring a bouquet to the Forgotten City where Aerith died.
In "Budding Bodyguard", Aerith introduced Elmyra to her bodyguard, Cloud. She asked if he took care of her and he confidently affirmed. Aerith said she'd guide Cloud back to Sector 7, but Elmyra insisted they spend the night. The next day, Elmyra asked Cloud if Aerith was a handful and tough to look after, but retracted the question.
After a day of helping the residents of the Sector 5 slums, Aerith and Cloud returned to her house and a worried Elmyra wondered where they'd been. Elmyra made dinner and told Aerith to prepare the guest room. While Aerith was upstairs, Elmyra addressed Cloud's status as a SOLDIER, asked him to leave that night, as SOLDIER "boys" had traded their normal lives for power and couldn't "have it both ways". Aerith returned downstairs and the three ate dinner. Cloud quietly walked downstairs after dark, being stopped by Elmyra before leaving. He asked for directions to Sector 7, and she told him to cut through Sector 6, warned him of the sector's dangers, was sure he'd be fine due to being a SOLDIER, and then apologetically requested Cloud to not talk to Aerith again.
Aerith rescued Marlene during the Sector 7 plate attack in "Fight for Survival" and brought her to Elmyra in exchange for turning herself to Shinra afterward. Cloud, Barret, and Tifa arrived at Elmyra's house in "A Broken World" to find Marlene was being kept safe. Barret demanded to know about Marlene's whereabouts to which Elmyra reassuringly responded that she was sleeping upstairs and to keep quiet. She revealed that Shinra had captured Aerith and told Cloud and Tifa about Aerith's Cetra heritage. Elmyra asked if Cloud was planning anything and insisted against it as she couldn't bear to lose her daughter. She asked the party to take care as they prepared to leave for the Sector 7 ruins.
Cloud's party returned to Elmyra with a wounded Wedge during "In Search of Hope" and she agreed to care for him. Cloud insisted they rescue Aerith after discovering a secret underground Shinra lab where inhuman experiments were conducted. She told Cloud she'd need time to think, and encouraged the party to get some rest. The next day, Barret thanked a content Elmyra for all the help. She lamented that she knew she'd have to say goodbye to her "baby girl" one day, but it wouldn't be yet, thus she requested the party to bring Aerith back to her. She would continue caring for a wounded Wedge and Marlene for the time being.
Elmyra is a middle-aged woman with an average build. She has fair skin, light brown hair (dirty blonde in Final Fantasy VII Remake) tied in a ponytail with a headband, and blue eyes. She wears a long buttoned green dress, an off-white apron, black pants, and brown boots. A younger Elmyra appears during a flashback in Final Fantasy VII Remake, wearing an open black buttoned shirt over a white shirt, dark green cargo pants, and brown shoes.
Elmyra is a protective, strong-willed, and concerning mother unable to leave "a wounded man out on the street". She has looked after Aerith since the latter was 7, and despite not being biologically related, lovingly treats her as her own daughter. She sympathizes with Aerith's heritage as a Cetra, feeling sad for all she's had to endure and struggling to understand it. When meeting Cloud, Elmyra expresses her lowly thoughts on the SOLDIER program, believing they sacrifice a normal life for power and blames them for some of Aerith's sadness, especially since she was heartbroken after losing Zack.
Elmyra appears as an NPC during the events of the Record Dungeon series. Like her original appearance in Final Fantasy VII, she meets Cloud, now accompanied by Tyro and Elarra, after he guides Aerith back to her home in the slums. After Tseng kidnaps Aerith, Elmyra explains to both Tyro and Cloud's party about Aerith's past.
- Final Fantasy VII script § "Aeris's Secret"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Words of Hope"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "To Aerith's House"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Leaf House Delivery"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Price of Strength"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Checking on Friends"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Resolve"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Turning Point"