|“||We shall devour your light, and use it to return this world to the Void!||„|
|~ The Cloud of Darkness|
The Cloud of Darkness (in Japanese: 暗闇の雲, Kurayami no Kumo, lit. "The Dark Cloud") is one of the most feared and powerful villains in the Final Fantasy series, appearing as the overarching antagonist and final boss of Final Fantasy III. She appears to be a semi-naked, humanoid female with a heart-shaped red marking on its forehead, accompanied by sentient tentacles. Although she is the final boss, she does not appear in the game until the very end. The Cloud of Darkness refers to itself in the plural form; using "We" instead of "I". Dissidia Final Fantasy explains this as its two tentacles having minds of their own, and the humanoid body speaks for all three of them. In the Nintendo DS translation, however, it is more apparent that "We" refers to the idea that the Cloud of Darkness is a collective entity born of darkness.
In the NES version, the Cloud of Darkness' snake-like tentacles were simply for decoration. In the Nintendo DS version the tentacles' numbers were reduced to two and act as enemies. The one to the right of the Cloud of Darkness has abilities such as Haste and Esuna, and is only weak to magic while the one to the left uses Lightning whenever possible and is vulnerable to attacks.
She was voiced by Laura Bailey, who is also known for voicing Lust.
The Cloud of Darkness's personalty is not really explored in Final Fantasy III, as she is more of a sentient disaster rather than a character, though in Dissidia Final Fantasy it is given more depth. The Cloud of Darkness is very cruel, arrogant, and belittling towards others, as she has no care for human life, though is fascinated by living things' attempt to live in spite of knowing they would eventually die.
In league with Kefka, Kuja and Exdeath, the Cloud of Darkness also desires to destroy everything. It is also implied that Cloud of Darkness thinks the manikins are abominations, and for that reason it aided Laguna in sealing the door to the rift that they came through.
Final Fantasy III
In Final Fantasy III, she appears as the main antagonist and final boss, though it doesn't appear until that point.
It was created when the wizard Xande stopped time in his quest for immortality and sealed the light of the Water and Earth Crystals, shifting the balance between light and dark in favor of the latter. The imbalance gave birth to the Cloud of Darkness, a manifestation of the excess darkness whose sole purpose was to destroy both the worlds of light and darkness by having the Void consume them. From here, it commanded Xande to carry out its scheme.
It first appeared after the warriors of light defeated Xande. It kills the warriors of light, however, they are brought back to life to defeat it. Though it is too strong, the warriors of dark, who had to save their world from the light, sacrifice themselves so it can be defeated. Very little is known about it, however, it seems it's only desire is to return everything to the Void, thus ceasing existence.
Cloud of Darkness is genderless, even tough it resembles a female. It refers to itself in the plural ("we").
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
In Dissidia, she is a servant of Chaos, and the villain to the Onion Knight. She does not play too much of a role beyond that, but possess the same goal as in the original game, to plunge the world into darkness.
In traditional Chinese culture, qì (also chi or ch'i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. The literal translation of "qi" is breath, air, or gas. Not only human beings and animals were believed to have qi, as Zhuangzi indicated that wind is the qi of the Earth. The philosopher Mo Di recorded how some people performed a kind of prognostication by observing the qi (clouds) in the sky. In conclusion, the Cloud of Darkness is the bad energy of the planet, the dark wind, the largest evil life force that can exist on the planet, it is the planet's evil qi.
- The Totema, Famfrit, from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and the Esper, Famfrit, in Final Fantasy XII are loosely based on the Cloud of Darkness.
- Of the fifteen mainstream numbered Final Fantasy games, Cloud of Darkness, Ultimecia, and Nael van Darnus are the only female villains to be main antagonists. This is debatable, as it has been stated that the Cloud of Darkness is genderless. Despite this, it is referred to as a "her" in Dissidia.
- A spoof of the final battle of Final Fantasy III appears in the credits roll for DynamiTracer, a Japan-exclusive Squaresoft game for the Super Famicom SatellaView addon. Four characters from the cast substitute for the Warriors of Light while another parodies the Cloud of Darkness.
- Unlike many Dark Forms, the Cloud of Darkness is not evil because she is an embodiment of darkness, but rather because she was created from the imbalance between light and dark, as her predecessor, Flood of Light, was exactly like her and comprised of light when the balance was shifted in light's favor, and was defeated by four heroic Warriors of the Dark.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Final Fantasy Dimensions
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics