auronlu: (Default)

Welcome! My journal is a miscellany of Final Fantasy fandom, started on LJ in the mid-2000s, ported to DW in 2010. You may know me as the Auronlu who transcribed the script of FFX as a resource for fanfic writers.

My labor of love is a novel-length fanfic, Love Her and Despair, an AU sequel to Final Fantasy X exploring the question: "What would have happened if Yuna had chosen the Final Summoning?"

I originally posted it on LJ from 2007-2012. As of December 2018, I am reposting it one chapter a week from the beginning, edited and revised. So if you want to read a game-length FFX style adventure, now's your chance to hit (NEW GAME)!

Table of Contents

Act I: Menace at Sea - Ch. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Act II: Operation Mi'ihen - Ch. 7 8 9 10 11 12
Act III: Al Bhed Homecoming - Ch. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Full-sized, uncropped version of my Map of Spira is on Deviantart. So is a LHAD Fanart Gallery.

Thanks Where Due:

To many reviewers and critiquers who have given me the encouragement to keep going (I would thank you individually, but I'm afraid of missing somebody) and to FANARTISTS including [profile] cirruscastle, [personal profile] mintywolf, Ayrania-chan on DA and Schmutzige_Banane on DA. THANK YOU.


old stuff from original version of this post )

auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 19: "Echoes of Woe"
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Elma, Rikku, Gippal, Shinra, Nooj, Cid
Rating: PG-13 (Violence)
Word Count: 3000
Summary: Summoner Isaaru arrives in the aftermath of an attack on the Al Bhed Home.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Sin has been systematically destroying temples and their aeons. Baaj Island, the new Al Bhed Home, has become its latest target. Isaaru and his companions arrive in the aftermath of the attack to offer help.

Wreaths of steam and smoke marked the sunken island of Baaj long before the piers of New Home rose from the sea. Late afternoon sun flared off distant panels and windows. As the airship began to descend, the jumble of structures resolved itself into a circular hive of new stone buildings built on and apparently from a vast field of submerged ruins, interconnected by arching bridges of metal and glass. The town was surrounded by a fortified ring-wall of more typical Al Bhed design, an intimidating exoskeleton of girders and rusted metal, massive guns facing out to sea. Baaj Temple reared up at the center of the settlement. Black smoke vomited from a wing jutting out behind its central tower.

The temple's cracked dome was not the only testament to Sin's passing. All the windows facing north had been blown in. Struts and spans tilted at dangerous angles. Porches and awnings had been ripped away from houses. Every channel of open water was fretted by a spiderweb of snapped cables drooping from twisted pylons. Yet apart from a few missing roofs, most of the structures appeared to be intact.

Gippal, returning to the flight deck with noisy disregard for his somber passengers, thumped Rikku's back before climbing into his seat. "Buck up, Sunshine. It's not as bad as it looks."

"Easy for you to say, Gip," she said, drooped over her console. "You're gonna make a fortune selling construction materials, right?"

"Two percent," he said. "Rin wanted a big markup, but I won't kick the home team when it's down."

"What a mess," Elma said. Ensconced in the gunner's bubble, she had a bird's eye view of the devastation crawling by.

"At least they had warning," Isaaru said. "Thank Yevon they fled in time."

Read More... )

auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 18: "The Falcon Cannot Hear"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Rikku
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1600
Summary: Discussing the fallout from Yuna's sphere.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Map/ToC

Our Story So Far: En route to the Al Bhed Home to ask Cid for aid, Isaaru's party learns the truth of the Final Summoning from Yuna's Sphere. Maroda and Auron come to blows, until Rikku intervenes.

"What have you done to them?" Isaaru hurried towards his unconscious guardians, stumbling over his robes. "In Yevon's name—"

"Calm down. They're fine!" Rikku said, tapping the back of Auron's head. "Funguar pollen: works better than a hammer on skulls like his. They'll wake in a few. You'd better sit down till your head clears."

The intercom activated with a burst of static. "Rikku, what are you doing to my ship?"

Rikku pressed her hands over her ears. "Nothing, Gip. Maroda and Auron got into a fistfight. I hit 'em with a nightcap."

"Oh, great. Hull breach? Dents in the deck?"

"Ummm..." She lifted Auron's feet, first one and then the other, letting them drop with a clunk. "Nope!"

"Keep it that way."

"Right-o!"

Read More... )
auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 21: "Love Her and Despair"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Rikku, Gippal
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3000
Summary: Revelations from Yuna's pilgrimage.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | >Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

illustration by [personal profile] mintywolf

Our Story So Far: On a rampage to destroy the temples of Yevon, Sin transports Isaaru and companions to Bikanel Island, where Wakka and Rikku are raising a family. Gippal gives Isaaru's party a lift to the new Al Bhed Home.


The flyer wobbled under the weight of extra passengers, accompanied by Rikku's swearing in two languages. Maroda rode white-knuckled, his brother with serene resignation. Elma, the machina-phobe, clung to her seat with a dour expression, but gave herself away with a whoop when the flier hopped over a sand-worm that unexpectedly rose behind a crumbling ruin. Auron simply played barnacle. Gippal was quiet too, for once, focused on steering a smooth course for the sake of his unsecured passengers.

They were streaking towards a gray hump emerging from the dunes. The shape soon resolved itself into a bulbous, unlovely hulk of an airship with the profile of an oversized bathtub, its hull a crude patchwork of fins, engine pods, exhaust ports and mismatched panels. It was moored on the southern tip of the island with the bulk of its fuselage hanging over open water. An aft loading ramp extended down to the beach.

The flyer slowed to a crawl and slithered up the ramp into the belly of the ship, coming to an abrupt halt against a stack of barrels. The engines screamed in the enclosed space, then faded to silence. Deafened passengers roused themselves and looked around. Floor-to-ceiling stacks of crates and gun racks loomed on all sides, making it a wonder they had not struck anything on the way in.

"Well, here we are," Gippal said, hopping up onto the flyer's windshield to kick a knob on the wall. The ramp and cargo bay doors began to close with a hiss of hydraulics. Dingy amber lights flickered to life in the ceiling as the rectangle of daylight behind them narrowed and vanished.

Read more... )

auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 16: "The Gippal Express"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Wakka/Rikku, Gippal
Rating: G
Word Count:2300
Summary: Gippal crashes the party.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | >Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Following a disastrous Crusader operation, Sin/Lulu transports Summoner Isaaru and his companions to the desert island where Wakka and Rikku are raising a family. Rikku realizes Sin is headed for Baaj Island, the new Al Bhed Home, and sends word to her father to evacuate.

"S-Sir Auron?" Yuna clambered onto his knees, clutching at his belt. "Are you going to make the Lady go away?"

Wakka made a strangled sound, shooting a panicked glance at Rikku.

For once, Rikku's inventiveness had exhausted itself. All she could manage was a strained, "C'mon, Yunie, he's a stranger. He's not gonna understand."

Auron contemplated the small, tear-stricken face before him. Her mismatched eyes were a haunting reminder of her namesake and the fate that had claimed her. How often had he tried to push against the spiral of death?

"She wants you to," Yuna said softly. "She feels sick inside. Can't somebody fix her?"

"Yuna," Auron said, choosing his gruff words with care. "Can anyone but the Lady change the weather?"

"Um..." The girl pondered, then shook her head, curls flopping around her ears. "No, 'cause she's the Lady!"

"Then how can we change her? The Lady is stronger than the weather," Auron said. "But if she leaves, she will give you a gift."

Read more... )
auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 15: "Attack of the Cactuars"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Wakka/Rikku
Rating: G
Word Count: 2400
Summary: Isaaru and Maroda arrive at Wakka and Rikku's house.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Following a disastrous Crusader operation at Djose, Sin transports Summoner Isaaru and some of his companions to the desert island where Rikku and Wakka are raising a family.

Auron stepped out into the late afternoon sun, ears ringing from Wakka's marching orders. Isaaru and Maroda were waiting under the shade of the fruit trees, the one meditating, the other pacing.

Maroda tensed at the scrape of the door. "Oh. It's you." He kept both hands on his spear as Auron trudged towards them. "What's going on?"

"Sir Auron," said Isaaru. "I had faith we would meet again. What is this place? We seem to have flustered the natives."

"Bikanel Island," Auron said. "Former Home of the Al Bhed."

"Ah! That would explain their alarm. Sir Auron, have you seen Pacce or the rest of our party?"

"Elma's inside. No sign of the others."

"Elma!" Maroda said. "I thought we'd lost her. That's something, at least."

Isaaru exchanged an apprehensive look with his brother. "May we come inside? The man we met at the oasis seemed uneasy, but he invited us to follow. He told us to wait while he spoke to his wife of our arrival."

"And you don't look like the wife," Maroda said. "Say, am I crazy, or wasn't that Sir Wakka? He shooed off the kids and bolted before we had a chance to talk."

Read More... )

So yeah...

Mar. 18th, 2019 01:10 pm
auronlu: (Blah)
I don't often babble about RL on my gaming blog, but there's some overlap because I'm bad at self-discipline. I had lots of adulting: doing taxes, 4(!) different medical appointments, and a bunch of different ordinary adulting stuff I've already forgotten.

On top of which, we suddenly had the GREAT BUTTERFLY MIGRATION, and it was magical and unusual for about five days— possibly because we've had the last 5 years worth of rain this last winter— so I decided to risk my bad back and dig up scraggly old plants and plant more butterfly-attracting plants in the patio. Which I needn't have done, because the peach tree blossoms were doing a good job of serving as a drive-thru, and now the last of the scragglers have headed out of the area. People up in the Bay Area, keep an eye out for little Painted Lady orange-white-and-black butterflies. They should be reaching you about now, en route to Oregon.

I'll miss them, but they inspired me to go out to local parks to see them and to plant purple heliotropes, so thank you little ladies!

And finally, I am still active in my local Pokemon Go community, catching up on the year and a half I missed. I was trying to resist Rayquaza hunting on Friday and Saturday, picking up a rare legendary that last appeared during my hiatus. Needless to say, I failed my self-discipline roll and wound up rattling around town with a "train" of other PGo players driving from one gym to the next. Cue the usual griping about the Ones That Got Away, but I am now the proud owner of at least one powerful sky noodle.


I've not been satisfied with half the illustration headers I've made for the remaster of Love Her and Despair. Art lessons in painting fruits and cups have only somewhat improved my ability to draw landscapes and complicated scenes, although I have made progress. But when I fail to capture what I was imagining/describing— something which [personal profile] mintywolf seems to pull off for her Patreon rewards to an astonishing degree— I'm not sure if my amateurish drawings help or detract from my more-skilled prose. Then again, I've always liked Tolkien's amateurish watercolors and drawings, and I'm never going to get better if I don't keep practicing.
auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 14: "Domestic Interlude"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Wakka/Rikku
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1800
Summary: Rikku picks Auron's brains and gives him a piece of her mind.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: After another messy operation in Djose, Auron and Elma get swept up by Sin and carried to Bikanel, where they find Wakka and Rikku have made a new life for themselves.

The children were a blessing and balm to the spirit, apart perhaps from Etta, who had roused Auron by targeting his belt as a landing pad. They swirled around the dining table, under no particular orders to stick to their own seats or plates as long as no food wound up on the floor or in each other's hair. (This latter rule required occasional reinforcement.) The younger children's chatter was largely in Al Bhed, apparently reflecting a switch in the household's primary language. To Wakka's annoyance, Yuna latched onto Auron with a child's knack for sensing parental disapproval. Her father monitored every word with a glower while Auron answered endless questions about Ronso cubs and snow.

After the meal, Auron atoned for trespass by washing dishes. Rikku set to work on a new batch of potions. Fleeing the stench of Al Bhed alchemy and their unwelcome guest, Wakka took the children out to the oasis for a swim. As soon as they were gone, Rikku cornered Auron in the kitchen and proceeded to grill him. For once, he was willing to speak frankly. There were few secrets that Rikku did not already know. His report on the Djose operation left her shaking her head.

"Agh! Stupid Crusaders. Didn't they learn anything last time?"

Read More... )  
auronlu: (emptiness)

HOLY FIRAGA.

I just had the most incredible dream. Lemme see if I can get it down before I forget. Tonight's LHAD chapter will be posted late, because I have a gazillion things to do, but at least i can give you this.

____

They were exhausted. So much the better. "Rest," Auron commanded. "I'll scout ahead. Don't follow." 

One by one they dropped to the floor of the tunnel, grateful for the reprieve. Auron gave Kimahri a sharp look. The Ronso's eyes narrowed, but he gave a grudging nod.

Wearily, Auron picked himself up and started down the left-hand tunnel. Great cracks in the walls and broken rubble on the floor told him it was the right place. He slowed, wary, as he came to a place where the left-hand wall had broken away altogether. Frigid wind blew through jagged gaps in the rock. Silvered moonlight shone in as well, making the stone surfaces gleam like teeth. Auron moved from shadow to shadow, using the rubble for cover.

There. Three wide black archways spanned floor to ceiling, with hewn square columns between them, on the wall facing the open sky. Were the gates still there? 

Yes. Stone. Metal. Ice, maintained by a magic he could not fathom.The fangs of the heavy portcullises were sunk into the floor. Something massive scraped restlessly on the other side. He sidestepped into the lee of a broken pillar, just as a rush of flame leapt out through the stone grating of the nearest arch. His coat flapped and smoked in the hot wind. As the fiery gust faded, he took a quick look, then ducked back as another blast answered him.

Wonderful. No chance of sneaking up on it, then. Not that he thought there would be.

He pondered how to reach the ancient rune glowing dully on the wall just past the triple gate. It would be suicide to reach it. It would be suicide to activate it, to release the monster trapped on the other side. He knew that all too well, haunted by the memory of a friend's charred hand slapping down on the rune.He knew something of suicide, though. He lived it. After a fashion. 

Trusting Kimahri would keep the others safe, he launched himself into the open, rolled under the first volley of fire and came up with his sword braced to parry the second. Flames licked at his shoulders, and again his coat was smoldering. He threw himself down again to snuff it before it could burst into flame, then flung himself flat against the square column between the second and third gate. One more opening to cross before he reached the rune.

And then what? Was he really going to release this fiend on the world again? Could he stop it?

As he pondered his next move, a grating, rumbling sound set his teeth on edge. What was the beast doing? It sounded like it was right on top of him.

On both sides of him. Were there two of them?

The grating sound was too regular, a ratcheting clack-clack-clack like the links of heavy chains sliding across stone.

The heavy gates were rising on their own.

A trap. He did not know how the beast had sprung its fetters, but this was a trap. He turned, just as a huge head emerged from the central archway. Armored hide was the color of his coat in shadow. Ember eyes gleamed. It turned like an adder to look at him. Recognition was there in that malevolent gaze, and triumph, if he was not imagining it.

He flung himself into action, charging into the side of the dragon's head, the only way to avoid its breath. It reared up, as he expected it would, not quite high enough to escape his tall blade with the archway hemming it in. The battle was on, strikes and fire and searing heat. He should have lost the coat before he came. 

The blade could parry, but not slice the iron hide. Time for a trick he had learned since his youth. Focusing his own fury into armor break, he swung at the treetrunk neck whipping towards him. Sparks flew from the black sword. 

It was the sword that snapped. A third of the blade flipped end over end in a deadly windmill he barely dodged. He did not have an eye to spare.

The beast had screamed and jerked away, but he had not hewn through its spine. Damn the creature. Before he could regroup, another blast caught him. Shutting his eye, he dropped, tried to roll before the fire took hold, fetched up behind a block he knew provided scant protection. 

Sir Auron! The cries cut through the agony, focused his mind. Don't you dare, you idiots, he thought, missing the irony. 

RUN! That was Kimahri. He would keep them back. He never broke promises the way Auron did, even promises the Ronso had never made. 

The beast was on the move. He heard its heavy tread, its ragged breathing as it began to emerge from its cell.

From nowhere in particular, a curtain of water splashed down on him, extinguishing the flames, followed by a curious crunch and a sting on one shoulder that might as well have been a gnat's, compared to the damage he had taken already. A glass phial shattering. The Hi-Potion felt like salvation, or at least life. Both were lies, but he staggered up as the wyrm's body slid past him, luckily on the outside of the natural parapet. Seizing the hilt of his sundered weapon, he ran to the shadowed alcove where the mage was hiding, inside the lip of the first archway.

"This is not your fight."

"Nor is it yours, Guardian," she hissed.

The wyrm slowed, stopped, and began to reverse along the passageway, its back legs rucked up and waddling like a crocodile's beside their hiding place.

"Any ideas?" Lulu said. "I don't suppose you came here with any sort of a plan." 

He winced, but nodded to the flat shard of sword lying on the stony floor. "Not much of one, no. Weak to ice."

"Well, that's something, at least," she said, taking a long breath. "Shall we?"

He stepped from their hiding place first, shifting his grip to allow for the sword's lighter weight, driving its broken edge straight into the flank before him to test its sharpness. The monster jerked, roared. Ice shards rained down as he stepped back, swung the blade down and around in a glancing blow that was the best opening he could give her. It was a variant of armor break he had learned on this journey, and it seemed to do the trick. The beast roared again as the ice struck.

They might even survive this folly. 

Still an optimist, Auron, he thought sourly, as the beast's thrashing swept him off his feet. He skidded, fighting to keep upright. The beast's writhing had it hanging halfway out onto the mountainside through the broken wall, which was good, with room for its neck to bend back in a U towards them, which was not. Lulu froze as the great head turned to inspect her.

Auron began to creep forward, holding his breath. He wanted to bellow and catch its attention, but this brief pause might be their only chance. Seize the moment.

She did not budge a muscle, as rigid as the straps and bindings holding her in. The smoking nostrils swung towards her, snuffing. The wyrm's yellow eyes gleamed. Lulu's bare skin above her collarline reddened enough that Auron winced, but still she did not flinch. If he could just strike the spot where her spell had made a weak point—

The wyrm snarled, head whipping towards him. He struck down, broken blade biting deep. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Lulu's hand flash in the moonlight, slamming down a spear of ice into one of the creature's eyes at point blank range. She was nearly crushed as the dragon screamed and writhed. 

There was another of those flurried seconds of blood and blows and fire, Auron raining hammer-blows on the entry point in its hide, Lulu flailing now, some of her spells grazing him as she tried to support his onslaught. The beast jerked and thrashed, front claws coming into play as it tried to bend double and engulf them in fire. 

Somehow, in Lulu's nimble-footed dance that always kept her scant inches from being crushed, she ended up on the outside of the tunnel, teetering on the edge when the mountainside broke away. 

"Lulu!" Diving through a curtain of flame, he charged under the beast's head as it bent round to bite or burn him. It twisted awkwardly, trying to follow him.

He saw his chance. One of the dragon's eyes was a dark bleeding socket, the other glowing with fury. Into the second he drove the sword nearly to the hilt. 

It howled, shuddered, reared. The jaws opened wide. Firebreath at close range was not survivable.

Knowing he might well be sealing her death warrant, Auron seized Lulu's waist as he threw himself backwards, down and out onto the mountainside.

There was no side. This was an almost sheer cliff, and they were tumbling. 

Scant comfort that the dragon, whether in its death-throes or trying to follow their scent, had rolled over the edge as well, thrashing like a severed earthworm. At least it was probably not going to land on top of them. 

Auron's boots thudded heavily against the slope. He gritted his teeth at the jarring pain in his ankles. They were still tumbling head over heels. Any minute a foot or head might be broken on the rock face blurring past them. If he could just time their spin so he wound up beneath her when they hit the ground, the mage might survive this. He was vaguely aware of her struggling, fumbling with her hair— now, of all times? With her braids whipping around them like a cometary tail? and then a rocky shelf was coming up fast and fatally beneath them, and Auron tried with every last ounce of will to twist himself under her.

Something that glittered flashed past his face. There was a faint crunch. Then his heels and hips and shoulders and the back of his skull struck hard enough to crack. Dimly, very dimly, he was aware of the strange sensation of dying and benison, life and agony, a curious binary thunderclap of sensations that his brain could not make sense of. For a split second he gave himself over to the pyreflies, but a Guardian had a job to do, and he had failed another guardian very badly.

Lulu stirred weakly. Knitting bone and healing magic sorted itself out, leaving him unspeakably sore with a headache and the wind knocked out of him, but no more dead than usual. 

She had dropped one of their precious megalixirs just before they hit.

They were still alive. Wonderful. That meant they'd have to walk back up the damned mountain.

"Satisfied?" she said, sitting up stiffly and pulling an ordinary potion from the unraveling bun of her hair. Noticing a few broken ones lying on the ground, he scooped up a handful and sprinkled them over himself, feeling slightly more human.

"Let's just get back to the others," he said. "Thanks." 

"Don't you ever dare do that again," she snapped. "Yuna needs me, as well as Sir Auron."

He inclined his head in mute apology, but made no promise. Promises, like swords, could be broken. 

They began to search for a path.

_________________

Note: pretty much all of this is a transcription of the dream as best I can remember it, except that the ice gate was ivory (gates of horn and ivory, a garbled image from Greek mythology), and I tweaked some of the fight choreography, and the dream actually ended with Lulu saying "Let's get back to the others," instead of "Satisfied..." etc. I was in
 Auron's headspace during the dream.

 Come to think of it, the arched gates and wingless wyrm-type dragon are probably borrowed from Nargothrond in the Silmarillion. I also blame Tolkien for my subconscious fixation with swords that are broken.


auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 13: "Homecoming"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Wakka/Rikku
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2000
Summary: Reunion with old friends.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story Thus Far: A Sin attack at Djose separates Auron from Summoner Isaaru and transports him to Bikanel Island. There he finds Wakka, who is ready to kill him over what happened at the end of their last pilgrimage.


I have become his Yunalesca.

Auron no longer knew what it meant to face death, but he knew what it meant to face a friend's murderer. He had a perverse wish to yield Wakka the satisfaction of revenge.

An image of Kinoc's face swam before Wakka's. Were the pyreflies playing tricks again? No, Wakka had put on weight, but his traces of flab showed only the fruits of living well, not living off others like a tick on Yevon's ass.

Wakka's fingers tightened on the trigger, but Auron's words had found their mark. "All right," he said, sounding irked at himself. "Tell me what Lulu said."

"And then you'll kill me?"

"You got it!"

"Not much motivation, then." Auron took a deep breath, attentive to the simple act in case it was his last for a while. "She told me to give you her love."

Read More... )

auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 12: "How Does Her Garden Grow?"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron/Lulu, Wakka
Rating: T
Word Count: 2300
Summary: A meeting of old friends (and enemies).
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: The Crusaders mount a new Operation Mi'ihen in an attempt to save Djose Temple's aeon, to no avail. Auron, guarding Summoner Isaaru, is felled by lightning during Sin's attack.

"Walk with Me" by [personal profile] mintywolf


The sky was singing. No, not the Hymn of the Fayth. It was a simpler lullaby, rocking with the ocean's rhythm, a tune suited to a child's cradle on some lush tropical island where the afternoons were drowsy and sweet. Auron wondered what had put that image into his mind, monastery-raised as he was. A nun had sung over him once, laving his fevered brow while he lay on a hard pallet fighting sickness after spending the night on Lake Macalania for the sake of a dare.

The hand stroking his brow paused. "I don't think I'd like being a nun, Auron."

Read More... )
auronlu: (Blah)
Caught Con Crud from con last weekend but STILL managed to finish drawing for this week (finally)! My painting class has permanently infected my drawing style, but I see glimpses of the artist I want to become — Auron's glasses in that picture are the sort of impressionism I want to be able to do on purpose instead of by accident.

I keep wanting to go back and improve the illustrations for previous chapters (or the one I missed) and not having time. But goodness, the pictures don't really matter save as a way to draw the eye to posts, especially on Tumblr, since The Play's The Thing. And I'm excited to be getting to this act of the story, which in some ways is my favorite, although there are epic things to come.

Pokemon Go keeps throwing events at us, which is helping me catch up on all the things I missed. Latias raids through Monday. Is this critter useful? Am I going to go mad trying to hit it like Palkia and Kyogre? I dunno.

Also today was one of those weird 3-hour field-research-from-pokestops whose reward is one particular new critter. They did it with Feebas a month ago, and now they've done it with... Clamperl? Is that an l or an r? I guess in Japanese it doesn't matter. I caught a few shinies, and thankfully had just enough candy to evolve 2, and they each turned into a random different thing whose name I forgot but they look like earthworm and wingless dragonfly (yikes). The genetics of Pokemon is bizarre.

I can't believe I did that— walked THREE HOURS, although not quickly— with a cold. Seems like the same cold I caught coming back from Utah, mutating and reinfecting me. I am full of phlegm and sound like a frog, sigh. Feel very wilted now but just took hot shower and did mindless pokemon-transfer. I caught 204 total today and collected over 100,000 stardust (there was a 2x stardust bonus during the event for water critters, and I threw starpieces I'd been saving on top of that to boost it even more).

I is SO TIRED. SO VERY TIRED. Must get takeout and stay up a bit longer before collapsing.

But before I forget.

FFRK PLAYERS. LOG IN AND HIT THE FREE RELIC DRAWS. There's two 40x relic draws which are free and guarantee two 6-star relics per draw. Also there's now an option you can set somewhere (?) maybe during relic draw? I forget? to have it auto-sell 1-4* equipment, i.e. anything without a Soul Break or other special enhancement.
auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 11: "Her Favorite Color Is Death"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Luzzu, Elma, Lucil, Maroda, Pacce
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2200
Summary: SHIT GETS REAL.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Summoner Isaaru, Auron and Maester Lucil are racing to save the temple fayth from Sin's destruction. In support of that mission, the Crusaders of Djose must once again take a stand against their old foe.

I want to show you the bouquet I've picked out for an old friend. It's just her color.



Luzzu's jest was salt for an old wound. Auron's time with Lulu had been brief, too occupied by their pilgrimage to permit much idle conversation, in which neither saw much point. Whereas her friends from Besaid had shared years of her life he had never known. Still, he had seen her in battle enough to know that Luzzu was right: lightning was her favorite color.

Lightning was fine, but Auron could do without the rain. The slow drip from his white forelock was growing maddening. How long must this charade continue?

It had taken the work-crews half a day to extricate the statue from the temple cloisters. Auron had kept Luzzu busy, suffering himself to be led in a meticulous inspection of Djose's defenses. The day had been a blur of names, introductions, handshakes, until the unexpected arrival of a maester had put his tour on hold.

Lucil must have emptied every storehouse in Luca, bringing her troops an entire cartload of armor, swords and medical provisions as "gifts of Yevon." Their hurried distribution threw the ordered frenzy of battle preparations into chaos. During the confusion, Elma's team trundled the covered statue into the back of the wagon without anyone noticing. It was neatly done, Auron had to admit. Now if only the engineers did not forget their oaths of silence.

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 10: "Breach of Fayth"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, cast
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1870
Summary: Operation Stolen Fayth, Phase I
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story Thus Far: Trying to thwart a new Sin bent on destroying temples, Summoner Isaaru and Auron hatch a plan to rescue Djose's fayth. Most of the Crusaders in the operation are kept in the dark, especially Captain Luzzu, who is suspected of having some way of communicating with Sin.

"Sir Auron, I must protest! You mean to tell me they're not even guardians? They should never have been permitted—"

"Neither are you, Father," Elma said.

The priest stood spreadeagled in the doorway of the Chamber of the Fayth, blocking the workers who had been dismantling its frame. "Your presence here is sheer outrage! Your men have defiled the Cloister of Trials, desecrated the fayth's sanctuary! Why, it will take us years to repair the damage!"

"If there's anything left to repair," Pacce said.

"Hey," Maroda said. "Isaaru's communing with the fayth, remember? If you want your aeon in one piece, I respectfully suggest you shut up."

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 9: "Memorial Gardens"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Elma, Luzzu
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2850
Summary: Journey to Djose. At the Mushroom Rock Crusader Lodge, Luzzu and Auron discuss an old friend.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls in the Final Summoning, Auron has joined Isaaru on a new pilgrimage. A Cult of Sin has arisen, and some now call Sin the Lady, both destroyer and benefactor. Whatever Sin's nature, she seems to be attacking the temples, and Djose may be the next target.


Three days out from Luca, they were approaching the turnoff to Mushroom Ridge. The Highroad had once been a beaten shelf of dirt exposed to the elements and scoured by the wind, but now berms or seawalls shielded it on the seaward side. Out of sight, leaden waves sighed against the rocks. Ahead, a finger from the cliffs arced down over the road to form a flying buttress. Beyond it, the land was transformed.

It was difficult to make out individual shapes in the growing dusk, but swaying dark fronds draped over the arch in a lush curtain. Nodding white flowers as wide as a woman's hand winked between broad leaves. A profusion of plants carpeted the path below, crushed or snapped by the passing prints of travellers, despite which they seemed to thrive: blue blossoms from Besaid and the coral-pink orchids of Kilika, ivy and hibiscus, lilies and irises, even the glassy trunk of a Macalania sapling with glowing seed-pods in the forks of slender stems.

"Yevon," Isaaru breathed, reining in his chocobo and gazing up at the floral tapestry in wonder. "What enchantment is this?"

"Nobody knows," Elma said. "Good thing it's so remote. Even so, we rescue a few tourists from fiends every month. They forget the danger. Speaking of which, be on your guard. Those vines can hide a full-sized iguion. Nasty buggers— their bite can paralyze. We try to keep the path clear up to the lodge, but the plants grow back fast."

She turned into a narrow cleft in the cliff-face which widened into a ravine. Sentries drew back spears and saluted as they passed.

The path was mostly cleared, but creeping vegetation spilled over the lumps and crags of the cliffs on either side. Sea-fog had collected on rocky shelves and dimples along the edges of the winding track. The larger basins held mats of dark-green pads with pale flowers illuminating the shadowy ravine. Glowing wisps of pyreflies spiraled up from their fragrant blossoms.

"I don't believe it," Isaaru said. "Moon-lilies. I thought they were unique to the Moonflow."

"Well, it rains here fairly often now." Elma spoke in a hushed voice. "Folks say it's Sin's doing. Who knows?"

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auronlu: (Blah)
Today's agenda includes getting the LHAD chapter up, hopefully with artwork because I had two great ideas for it before the adventure of the lost? cat and my trip to the emergency room completely ate my Friday afternoon and evening. (Yesterday I had social events all day.)

I also need to finish at least one portrait for the doctor who con coming up Thursday, start packing, and tidy up the house which has gotten messy again between baking with one functional arm, turning bathroom into cat quarantine area, and my typical messiness when I'm in a hurry and/or getting migraines with no energy to put things away.

Also there is a special Pokémon go event this weekend, which involves trading and/or sending gifts, and since next weekend I will be at the con during community day and will not have time to catch lots of the critter of the month who can evolve into something great, I want to trade all my garbage stats version of that critter to other people for their garbage versions of the same critter, since stats reroll when they're traded. Which means I need to get out this afternoon to do some Pokémon.

I think my goal to get up to 50km in walking this week is gonna have to go by the wayside, which is a pity, as I was up to 34 by the end of Thursday. (Admittedly a bit of that was driving around the neighborhood or parking lots, since I think it counts when moving under 15kph , but most of it was on foot.)

At any rate, that is too much stuff to get done today. Specially since I feel a migraine coming on.

So another day is going to go by in which I do not get to things that I keep saying "I need to get to that." So here's the "keep remembering this until you have a chance to do it" To Do list:

-Mintywolf's Patreon and Dirty Paws project. For some reason I am terrible about keeping up with Patreon when I am on mobile, and I seem to be on mobile most of the time these days
- Rina has recced some fic, including an FFV fic I should definitely read
- Owlmoose says DW takes markup, and I already forget how to activate it, and I also forget most of the commands, but they are easier than typing/dictating html on ipad (Which works with the HTML editor but not the rich text editor). I need to make myself a cheat sheet in the notes app.
- flipping keep up my doctor who DW.
-flipping keep up with my DW friends page.

PS I use Siri dictation more and more, and I don't always remember to go back and see what bizarre transcription mistakes she's made. Even when I do, my vision is 2040, so I miss things. Therefore, if my sentences start sounding drunk, try reading them aloud and imagining what a computer hears somebody saying with a muddy American accent and a slightly stuffy nose. Apologies, but at least the mistakes may be entertaining.
auronlu: Sazh with chocobo chick and legend, "FUCK THIS SHIT" (Sazh)
Note: Next chapter of Love Her and Despair delayed due to my stupidly getting a nasty bite while corralling a panicky lost cat (not mine; from the look of it I’m afraid it’s been abandoned. Flea collar, so not feral).

ER visit concluded, shots and antibiotics obtained, I have given up creating art for this chapter. I’ll post it in the morning, hopefully.
auronlu: (Blitzball)
Someone has proposed a February is for Shitposting challenge, partly to reassure Tumblr refugees that Dreamwidth is not just serious posts, and it's ok to post short, random, and ridiculous! Or anything.

i'm terrible at shitposting, but I'm fairly good at absurd icon making, so I'm going to unearth some of my ancient icons from Livejournal days of yore.

Also I'd like to give a shout out to FFX's Blitzball Kid, because he is a walking shitpost.

Plus it gives me a chance to share this adorable fanart by SwankyShadow @ DeviantArt (follow the link to the animated version):


I'M GONNA BE A BLITZBALL (Animation)
auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 8: "Best-Laid Plans"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Lucil/Elma
Rating: G
Word Count: 2500
Summary: Planning the next Operation Mi'ihen. Is this a good idea?
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Isaaru sets the mantle of maester aside to resume his pilgrimage with his brothers. Teaming up with Auron in Besaid, they discover a pattern to Sin's attacks: it seems to be targeting temples. They meet Maester Lucil at Luca Stadium to report their findings.


Sin and an old friend...

The carnival ambiance of the blitzball tournament ebbed and flowed around Isaaru and his companions like another world pinned by pyreflies to a gigantic sphere. Fans cheered for their favorite players, bickered over team loyalties, lived and died with every goal. In the maesters' box, all was still.

Isaaru had been uncharacteristically stark, blunt, and brief as he narrated the bare bones of their journey. Now he and Lucil sat between two worlds, surrounded by a sea of noise. Clapping when the crowd roared, feigning interest in a match that no one but Pacce actually watched, they waited for the final moments of a Bevelle upset ("That's one for the history books, folks!") to play out so they could slip away to ponder the fate of the world.

As soon as the buzzer sounded, Isaaru and Lucil retired to a VIP suite below the maester's dais. The chamber was as dark as a Cloister of Trials, despite a few skylights. Luxurious furniture and refreshments could not disguise the fact that it had been built into the stadium's walls as a fortified retreat against attack— from Sin, or from an angry mob, to judge by its defenses. Years ago, Lucil had commanded the removal of the machina weapons embedded in the heavy doors leading out to the stadium, but the peepholes of gunsights and the stripped mountings on the doors' inner faces were a sober reminder of what Yevon could be.

Isaaru settled into a high-backed chair, his guardians forming a triangle around him. Elma helped Lucil into the seat across from him. The maester in charge of Yevon's military concealed her infirmity in public, but a chocobo accident had left her partially paralyzed. Her aide was no longer a starry-eyed cadet, but a seasoned officer with a scar half-hidden under short dark hair and a complexion weathered by years of riding.

Elma gave orders to the sentries outside and shut the doors. "There. No one's going to disturb us for anything short of a Sin sighting. The next match is in forty-five minutes, if you mean to keep up appearances."

"Thank you, Commander," Isaaru said, forgetting that he was no longer the senior official in the room.

"Djose, then." Lucil steepled her hands in her lap, expression grave. "Elma. Provide Summoner Isaaru and his party with mounts and escort them to Djose. Send couriers ahead to Mushroom Rock Lodge, advising the captain to begin battle preparations and await your arrival. We will need his ground forces as well for this operation."

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auronlu: (Fang)
Thing I mean to do:

(1) write more detailed comments/review of twigcollins' wonderful Final Fantasy XII fanfic series, moments in another time.

I posted a rec on Tumblr, but it's on Tumblr (boo). TL;DR: Start with A Kind of Integrity for Balthier/Fran awesomeness, then Life in a Box because it's also excellent and about the everyday/lowerclass people of Rabanastre, then a presumption that our eyes once watered, which is Vayne and Larsa sneaking into Old Town so Larsa can learn about social inequity and what it's like for the underprivileged and how (possibly) to make systemic changes, and if you aren't hooked by that time and wanting to read the entire series from start to finish I'll be surprised. Assuming you like FFXII, that is, and possibly even if it didn't quite come together for you.

(2) Redraw that Lucil/Elma portrait because I did it in a rush, and the anatomy and hands are a little weird, and now that I've thought about it some more I have a few tweaks I want to do to their costumes. (Also it irks me I wound up using a bit of very loose tracing to get elbows, knees, shoulders, hips in approximately the right spots... I SHOULD BE BEYOND DOING THAT. I'd photoshopped a Senshistock photo and a totally different photo of a woman leaning on a stick together to get the poses.)

But

(3) I'm going to a Who con in two weeks, and I usually do portraits and get them autographed, and I had better well GET ON WITH DRAWING THE ONES I WANT AUTOGRAPHED.

Oh

(4) I want to drag old LJ friends to read Love Her and Despair as I post the remaster, but on the other hand y'all busy, I know exactly how it is, and there's tons of fandom things and RL stuff I'm not getting around to myself. Still. SEV. RINA. OWLMOOSE. IRA. ET ALIA. I encourage you to read the thing while the chapters I've posted on DW are under 10K words and it's not too daunting.

(Sarasa, I don't have the urge to bug you because I'm guessing there's too many conventional fantasy tropes to suit your tastes, although who knows.)

ok enough procrastinating already
auronlu: (Lady)

Maester Lucil and Commander Elma portraitTitle: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 7: "We Interrupt This Broadcast"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Elma, Lucil
Rating: G
Word Count: 2300
Summary: Arrival in Luca with more fanfare than one could wish.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Grand Maester Isaaru resumes his pilgrimage with his brothers, investigating rumors of Sin's return and a heretical Cult of Sin. After dealing with Sin-attacks on Besaid and Kilika, they arrive in Luca.

Despite Isaaru's pleas, Kiyuri insisted on flying Bevelle's banners for arrival in Luca. The grand maester would have his due, even if it dashed his hopes of slipping through the city quickly and quietly. Judging by the din from the docks, he would do neither. Other towns welcomed maesters with hymns and ceremonial. Only Luca could sprout souvenir stands and hawkers in the time it took for the S.S. Konna to hoist sails and put into port. Cheering crowds waved prayer flags. Sphere cameras flashed up and down the waterfront like so many pyreflies. Children clutched collectible summoner statues and played dueling aeons while waiting for the ship to dock. Over the general hubbub, the public address system blared a breezy patter, the local equivalent of pious homage.

"Ladieeees and gentleman, we'll return to the pre-game show shortly. But first, here's an exclusive update on today's developing news story. The S.S. Konna has arrived at Dock Three. We can now confirm that Grand Maester Isaaru is aboard. We repeat, Grand Maester Isaaru has arrived! We missed him at the High Summoner's festival, but he's joined us for Luca's most famous tournament, the Eleventh Annual Sir Tidus and Sir Wakka Memorial Cup! And it looks like all Luca's turned out to welcome the ruler of Yevon and the undisputed leader of Spira!"

"While we wait for the maester's party to disembark, Jimma, this is a good time to remind folks of the new security measures in place at the stadium for our fans' safety. All bags will be searched, and machina not approved by Yevon will be confiscated. Sphere cameras with Yevon's seal are permitted. If you're wearing goggles, please remove them as you approach the turnstyles."

Isaaru waved to the crowd placidly while the crew secured the moorings and lowered the ship's gangway. Maroda shook his head at the broadcast. "It's only going to get worse, the longer Sin's out there."

Isaaru nodded. "One more reason to be on our way."

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