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The Tragedy of Five Years Ago[1] is the tenth chapter in Final Fantasy VII, and the first chapter of the second act, "Pursuit". After leaving Midgar, Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, and Red XIII regroup in Kalm, where Cloud recounts his version of events in the Nibelheim Incident in which Sephiroth became a villain.


Traveling to Kalm[]

Upon leaving Midgar, the party enters the world map in the Midgar Area. The destination is Kalm, a town located northeast of Midgar. Along the way, enemies will be randomly encountered, with one enemy in particular providing unique opportunities.

On the journey, it is useful to equip the Enemy Skill Materia and Steal Materia. If the Custom Sweeper is encountered, it can use the Matra Magic ability, which can be learned by the Enemy Skill Materia when used against a party member with it equipped. Matra Magic is a very useful ability that deals non-elemental damage to all enemies, making it good for clearing waves. Additionally, it is possible to steal the weapon Atomic Scissors for Barret from it.



After arriving at Kalm, both party members will head to the inn and leave Cloud behind, and he cannot leave the town. The objective is to talk to the party in the inn located directly at the entrance, though there are a few items that can be obtained first, and Cloud can interact with various non-player characters for dialogue.

In the first house (right from the inn), an Ether is found in a closet beneath the stairs. The second has another Ether on the top floor, in the armoire next to the beds. The third house has two sets of stairs leading to different rooms with items. The normal set of stairs closest to the entrance to the house leads up to a room where a Guard Source is found in the dress at the back of the room; this item will permanently increase the Vitality of a character and reduce their physical damage taken, and should be used on a party member the player intends to use most often throughout the game. At the back of the first floor of the third house is a circular staircase that leads up to a room where the Peacemaker can be acquired, a weapon for Vincent, who has yet to join the party. Finally, the fourth house has another Ether in a closet beneath its stairs.

The town also has three stores; though the Item Store has nothing new, the Materia and Weapon Stores have items worth purchasing. The Materia Store has the Earth Materia and Heal Materia, as well some Materia that have already been acquired by now. The Earth Materia provides spells of the Earth element, and can also be paired with the Elemental Materia. The Heal Materia provides spells that cure negative status effects. The Weapons Store provides a new tier of weapons for all characters, though aside from the Mythril Claw for Tifa—which can be replaced shortly after when the Grand Glove is stolen in an upcoming dungeon—many characters may already own a more powerful weapon if the right item was stolen (for instance, if Cloud has the Hardedge, he can ignore the Mythril Saber).

To continue with the story, Cloud must head to the top floor of the inn to join the rest of the party. Before approaching the party, the drawers in the top-left of the room have a Megalixir, which Cloud can't reach; repeatedly interacting with it will cause the item to fall so it can be picked up.

Nibelheim flashback[]

Nibelheim during the flashback.

After approaching the party, the main flashback in Nibelheim begins. After a series of dialogue, a battle begins against a Dragon, with a party of a younger Cloud as well as Sephiroth. Sephiroth cannot be controlled or damaged, and during the battle, will mostly deal with the enemy on his own.

After the battle ends, more dialogue takes place, following which the player controls Cloud within Nibelheim. Follow Sephiroth further into the town to resume control of Cloud. Many optional interactions can take place by heading into various houses. Cloud's house, located on the top-right, will lead to a cutscene where Cloud talks to his mother, and other parts of the town allow Cloud to speak with various non-player characters, including Zangan and Tifa's father.

Entering Tifa's house, located in the middle on the right, will lead her present day self to ask if Cloud actually did so. Replying "No" will take Cloud outside, but affirming allows him to enter further. Entering her room can lead to numerous optional dialogue choices, including reading a letter and obtaining a joke "Orthopedic Underwear" item, but more important is the piano. When approaching it and selecting "Yeah, I jammed on it", selecting "I remember" allows Cloud to play it normally, selecting "I forgot" brings up a piano guide, and selecting "Just a little" brings up sheet music. Successfully playing the tune on the piano will allow the party to obtain an Elemental Materia much later in the game, but for now gives no immediate rewards.

To proceed with the quest, talk to Sephiroth twice in the inn. The second time, select "Yeah, let's get some sleep." to proceed to the next day. When it begins, talk to Sephiroth again to proceed, with dialogue leading into a cutscene after Tifa becomes the guide. Cloud will be taken to Mt. Nibel, where enemies are randomly encountered; as before, Sephiroth will destroy them immediately. Talk to Tifa and follow her across the bridge, then proceed after her. Another cutscene will commence, after which the party is taken to another part of the mountain. Climb it to reach a cave where more dialogue takes place; once it concludes, follow to another cave entrance in the back for further dialogue.

The party will arrive in the Nibel Reactor. Enter it and follow Sephiroth, and close the valve after he requests. Talk to him again a few times, and after some dialogue, a cutscene commences. The option is presented to save the game; either way, Cloud will next arrive in the Mansion. From the bottom floor, head up the stairs and to the right, where a soldier is outside a bedroom. Enter the room and at the back is a staircase down to a library, where Sephiroth is found. After his dialogue ends, Sephiroth will not talk to Cloud; simply leave the library for a cutscene.

Once the cutscene ends, Cloud awakes inside another bedroom in the Mansion. Return to the spot where Sephiroth was before, where he can be found further inside the library. Talk to him, then leave the Mansion and return to Nibelheim. Head back to the town square where Zangan will try to talk to Cloud, then as he commands, check Cloud's house on the right for a cutscene. Following this, Cloud returns to the Nibel Reactor. Descend it and head further inside. Here, a series of scenes will commence, and the flashback concludes.

The player returns to Kalm. After leaving the inn, the two characters not in the party will give Cloud the PHS, allowing the player to change party members at any save point or anywhere on the world map. Obtain any items that were not already acquired in Kalm, and the main story continues in the next chapter, "Going After Sephiroth".