Some of the most overlooked things in Final Fantasy VII can be found in the childhood bedroom of Tifa Lockheart: three letters, each written by a different person. These letters help to answer some of the questions surrounding Tifa's childhood in Nibelheim and the incident that took place five years ago.
The First Letter: Tifa's Friend in Midgar
About the Letter - This first letter was written by one of Tifa's childhood friends, one of the boys who left Nibelheim seven years ago to make their way in the world. In the game, it's implied (but not confirmed) that the author of this letter was Johnny.
How to Find It - This letter can only be accessed during Cloud's story of the Nibelheim Incident that he tells when the party first visits Kalm. Once you've arrived in Nibelheim, go to Tifa's house and enter her room (note that whenever Tifa asks you questions, answer "Yeah"). Go up to her desk and read the letter, and say that you "remember clearly" what was in it.
What it Says - Cloud reads the letter, noting first that it was "addressed to Tifa from the son of the guy that runs the General Store..."
"Tifa, how are you? I just arrived in Midgar eight days ago."
"Yesterday, all of Nibelheim got together to welcome me. The only person that we couldn't get a hold of was Cloud."
"But everyone said he wasn't really that close to us. So even if we asked, he probably wouldn't have come anyway."
"Well, enough about him."
"Midgar is really something. But to tell the truth, I feel so behind on everything... so out of it."
"Even the rooms of people in the slums are clean."
"Right now I'm living in the slums, but I plan to move to a really nice room, like the ones I've seen in magazines, once I make some money."
"...But, to do that, I guess I have to find a job first. That's right. I still haven't found a job yet."
"I lied to my parents and told them I found a great job with Shinra, Inc."
"I wonder if it's too late to go back. Sometimes I think I should've taken over my parents' store."
At this point, Tifa will interrupt and ask if Cloud remembers all of the letter. Select "Yeah, I remember" and Cloud will continue, noting that he recalled it "Because there was some stuff about me..."
"I just made it here to Midgar but all I think about is Nibelheim."
The Second Letter: The Nibelheim Cover-Up
"Hey, Tifa... Is that stupid old water tower still working?"
"Is the old man at the Inn doing well? Are my parents still at the shop everyday? Have any monsters attacked?"
"And most of all, how are you, Tifa? It feels like I havent' seen you for years."
"We were all talking about you last night."
"Everyone likes you. But because everyone idolizes you, I couldn't very well stab them in the back."
"I always acted cool, but actually, I was just afraid of being jilted."
"Wow, if I keep writing like this, this'll become a love letter!"
"So, I think I'll stop here. Take care. I'll write again."
"P.S. Write me back, okay?"
About the Letter - Presumed to have been written by one of Hojo's subordinates. It plainly reveals that the Shinra purposefully rebuilt Nibelheim to cover up the incident that happened there, and also details some of the Company's methods in maintaining the cover.
How to Find It - This second letter is also found on Tifa's desk, but this time in the present day. As in the flashback, visit Tifa's house and examine her desk.
What it Says -
"Periodic Report to Professor Hojo"
The Third Letter: Tifa's Fate After the Incident
1 Clone Activity Report
Unfortunately, no 'CLONES' have left this town this quarter. As previously reported, the 'CLONES' seem to be sensing something. But all they say is, 'Reunion' or 'Sephiroth' and show no other signs of activity.
2 Confidentiality Report
A total of eight people have visited this town this quarter. Fortunately, none knew about the incident five years ago. Therefore, no one knows the town was restored exactly as it was five years ago. Our staff, disguised as townspeople, have improved their acting skills, and we do not report any problems at this time.
That is all.
About the Letter - Written by Zangan during a trip he made to Nibelheim after its rebuilding. It details how Tifa was rescued from the Mako Reactor on Mt. Nibel and includes her Level 4 limit break manual.
How to Find It - Follow the instructions for playing Tifa's piano as detailed on the Limit Breaks page. After this is done, the letter will become accessible.
What it Says -
"Tifa, what's happened to our town? Was it all an illusion, or
just a dream? No, it was neither. I remember trying to get people out of
the flames, but not having the strength... Burning with anger, I went to
the reactor to kill Sephiroth."
"But he was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found you, collapsed
inside. I felt saving you was far more important than going after
Sephiroth. There were several others that were still alive inside, but I
was only able to save you."
"As I was coming out of the reactor, Shinra troops were just
arriving. I recall a scientist named Hojo was in charge. He ordered the
troops to gather up everyone still alive for the experiment. I didn't know
what type of experiment he was talking about, but I wasn't about to let
them have my dearest student."
"Putting you on my back, I headed down the mountain to the
village. I used the Cure spell on you many times."
"And started to head for Midgar to look for a doctor for you. I
don't like that city, but my Cure spells weren't helping."
"I decided to go to Midgar to find a doctor I could trust. I'm
worried about you, but I can't settle down in one place for very long.
Have you recovered fully? Are you well?"
"I wonder how many years have passed since then? I just got into
town again, but I can't believe it... The whole town is back to normal,
except for the strange beings with black clothes all around..."
"The town reeks of Shinra, but I won't go after them. You may
think I'm running from them, but it's just that I don't want anything to
do with Shinra anymore. Feels like time is running out."
"I'm sure you'll find this letter. And this gift for you. It
should come in handy. I can't even jump anymore. But I hope you continue
to sharpen your skills and remember what I taught you."
"To my most precious student, From Zangan"
Written and compiled by Reeve, April 2008.